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4 Eye-Opening Insights from WebPurify’s Multiplayer Family: Parents of Gamers Report

December 4, 2023 | UGC

Back in the days of guiding Mario through the pixelated labyrinths of Donkey Kong or embarking on epic quests in The Legend of Zelda, our biggest worries were dodging barrels and rescuing princesses – a far cry from today’s games, where not only is the violence strikingly realistic, but parents also face a new concern: the potential for unmoderated, abusive content from other users, transforming gaming from a safe virtual playground to a realm needing vigilant moderation.

WebPurify’s new Multiplayer Family: Parents of Gamers report dives deep into an often-overlooked aspect of gaming: the experiences and concerns of parents who themselves are gamers. Gathered through Censuswide, the new insights are fueled by data from more than 1,000 Americans who are gamers themselves and now have children who play. The report takes an in-depth look at these parents’ sentiments surrounding the evolution of harmful content within video games and how they are seeking to manage it.

This research is not just a window into the current state of family gaming; it’s also a critical tool for game developers and console manufacturers seeking to align with the rapidly changing needs and concerns of their audience.

In an industry that thrives on innovation and engagement, these insights are pivotal. They serve as a guide to address pain points that could otherwise be missed, such as the demand for enhanced parental controls, the longing for simpler gaming experiences, and the need for more responsible content moderation.

For game developers and console manufacturers, this report is a treasure trove of information that can help drive strategic decisions and even product development. It sheds light on what truly matters to a significant segment of your market – the family.

Below are four of the key insights that came out of the report. By understanding these insights, you can tailor your offerings to be more inclusive, safe, and appealing to family audiences, thereby expanding market reach and building brand loyalty.

Insight 1: Concern Over In-Game User-Generated Content

A striking 44% of gamer parents pinpoint user-generated content (UGC) within games, such as in-game chats and multiplayer interactions, as a major concern when it comes to their kids playing video games. Interestingly, this fear of UGC overshadows even their worries about the game content itself.

Our Parents of Gamers report explores the various forms of UGC that are causing such unease among parents. Among their top concerns are their children’s exposure to inappropriate language, aggressive behavior, and unsuitable usernames in online multiplayer environments. What’s more, parents have reported witnessing or hearing about instances of bullying, hate speech based on race, gender, or sexual orientation, and even predatory behavior within these game environments.

The revelations in our report underline a critical aspect of modern gaming: the real risks lie not in the programmed content of the games, but in the unpredictable nature of player interaction. And this insight opens up a conversation about the responsibility of game developers and platform owners to monitor and moderate these interactions to create a safer environment for younger players.

Insight 2: The Demand for Enhanced Parental Controls

A staggering 62% of gamer parents feel that gaming consoles should step up their game in providing effective parental controls. This reflects a growing concern among parents about their ability to shield their children from inappropriate content. Many parents feel that current tools are inadequate for filtering out harmful material, leading to a trust gap in the technology meant to protect young gamers.

Our report suggests that parents are seeking more comprehensive and user-friendly controls, allowing them to tailor their child’s gaming experience more closely to their individual standards and values. This demand marks a significant opportunity for gaming console manufacturers and game developers to respond to parental concerns and enhance the safety features of their products.

Insight 3: Nostalgia vs. Modern Gaming Realities

Our Parents of Gamers report also uncovers a poignant contrast between the gaming experiences of today’s parents and the games they grew up with. While 65% of gamer parents fondly recall the simpler, less graphic games of their youth, they now face the reality of modern games that are often more intense, realistic, and, in their view, potentially harmful.

This nostalgia for less complex games reflects a desire for a return to gaming experiences that parents perceive as more innocent and less fraught with risks, highlighting a generational divide in attitudes towards gaming content.

“Video games have evolved so drastically from what I remember playing when I was a kid, with games like Duck Hunt,” says WebPurify co-founder Josh Buxbaum. “Today’s games are more realistic, more engaging and more interactive between players – all aspects that make them more compelling but also present avenues for misuse.”

Insight 4: The Shift in Parental Gaming Strategies

In response to games becoming more sophisticated, parents are adapting their approach to their children’s gaming. The report notes a trend among parents towards encouraging solo gameplay, avoiding the risks associated with multiplayer online environments.

Interestingly, some parents expressed a preference for gender-specific versions of games, hoping to create safer and more controlled environments for their children. This shift in strategy indicates a proactive stance by parents in managing their children’s exposure to the broader gaming world, balancing the benefits of gaming with the need to protect their children from its potential harms.

In Conclusion

These insights represent just a portion of the rich data and analysis available in the full Multiplayer Family: Parents of Gamers report. For a comprehensive understanding of the current state of family gaming, including detailed findings and expert recommendations, download the report here.

Our new report will help you gain invaluable insights into how gaming is shaping family dynamics and what the future may hold.